Cascadia Center director Bruce Agnew on decision to keep Eastside corridor in public domain
-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-
1 p.m. PT
Nov. 6, 2009
Bruce Agnew, Director
Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute
CASCADIA CENTER DIRECTOR BRUCE AGNEW ON DECISION TO
KEEP EASTSIDE CORRIDOR IN PUBLIC DOMAIN
SEATTLE (Nov. 6, 2009) – The Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute is very pleased that in these tough economic times, the Port of Seattle has found partners to keep in the public domain the 42-mile Eastside rails and trails corridor from Renton in the South to Snohomish in the North. We applaud the agreement reached between the Port, King County, Sound Transit, the City of Redmond, Puget Sound Energy, and the Cascade Water Alliance.
For two years, Cascadia Center has argued that this valuable corridor should remain in the public domain and be maintained for multiple uses. We believe the corridor can be used for successful interurban commuter rail service along with a hiking and biking trail. When King County entered into an agreement with the Port of Seattle, a commitment was made to have the 42-mile corridor used for both rails and trails. We understand that discussions are also underway to use the corridor for future utilities.
Earlier this year, the Puget Sound Regional Council and Sound Transit completed a feasibility study of the corridor and found:
- “Operating passenger/commuter rail on the corridor is feasible”
- “The corridor has the potential for significant transit ridership”
- “The capital cost estimate for passenger rail is within the range for other lines in the US”
- “A pedestrian/bike trail could fit within the existing right-of-way throughout much of the corridor”
- “It is possible that passenger rail could be implemented with a lower cost” (than what is identified in the study). We note that Sound Transit has completed the existing Sounder commuter service for $13.7 million per mile.
Cascadia Center applauds this decision and stands ready to assist the Port of Seattle and its new partners as they work to make this valuable transportation and recreation corridor viable for the region.